Schmian Evans was born October 13, 1979 in Monroe, Louisiana. When Schmian was a child growing up in California s/he remembers going to Baptist churches with hir family but not forming a strong relationship or being very present. In hir twenties while studying for a B.S in Biology at San Jose State University s/he was severely depressed, and God spoke to hir in a dream one night. S/he started developing a relationship with the divine through personal ritual of prayer and conversation with God and in beginning to attend church again, s/he sought to infuse this new relationship into all aspects of hir life.
Infusing this relationship with the divine into hir life included hir time working as a supervisor at Adobe from 2004-2007, and in teaching adults and youth with developmental disabilities from 2008-2013. Hir relationships and roles in these work places helped shape Schmian’s theology, and skills in facilitation and embodiment of light and love in relationships.
Seven years ago Schmian joined the City of Refuge church now in Oakland, California. City of Refuge United Church of Christ formed in 1991 in San Francisco, California is a congregation that practices radically inclusivity to welcome all people no matter what race, gender, age, sexuality, ancestry, or ability. Through City of Refuge s/he was mentored and steered into ministry. During this time s/he experienced an event that flipped hir life upside down, and led hir to the realization that s/he wanted to be a minister who served others, as she discovered serving others helped her maintain stability during this tumultuous period.
Schmian reflects that being a part of the family at City of Refuge has been a process of healing after being disconnected from biological family. City of Refuge has been a community of love, growth, change, and accountability for hir. Refuge creates a place where you can have responsibility and also have room to try new things out and foster new ideas in ways that are supportive and life-giving.
In 2013 s/he started pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree and a certificate of Sexuality and Religion at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.
Schmian loves theater, monologues and spoken word and participates in performing and ministering through these mediums at City of Refuge and other venues. S/he has several pair of heels to rock, using performance as an avenue to disrupt gender roles. S/he has found these performances to be a catalyst for conversations and growth in unsettling people’s normative ideologies around gender expression and identity and allows space for questioning and exploration.
Schmian also ministers through spoken word, and sees theater and spoken word as an interconnected way to say to others, “God loves you and cares about you and will never stop loving or caring”. Other roles of Schmian’s ministry is healing, and supporting mentors and pastors in their spiritual and religious leadership in congregations or institutions.
Schmian’s ministries also serve as a linking point between different faith paths and to connect people to a spiritual source by whatever name they may use for it. S/he wants to bridge perceived differences among differently faith paths, and to center that there’s a commonality that be found at the table of humanity.
S/he envisions hir ministries as part of the communities of people that are working together to bring healing to the world. S/he believes that there are many times in hir own life when the door has been closed, but in hir relationship to the divine even when injustice is abound, there is another door opened by the divine that cannot be taken away. S/he hears, speaks with, and loves God. Schmian has lived through and seen enough things to know that God is real, and with each of us.
(This biographical statement written by Sonny Duncan from an interview with Schmian Evans.)
Biography Date: January, 2014
African American | Transgender activism